IIHF Council announces more cancellations

With the exception of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship and the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, all 2020/21 tournaments in the lower division men’s senior, women’s senior, and men’s U18 categories have been cancelled.

In all, 18 tournaments will be impacted by the cancellations, bringing the total number of cancelled tournaments in the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program to 28.

As in the September meeting, the IIHF Council followed the Expert Group’s recommendations that cited major concerns over the ability of these event hosts to operate a tournament in a safe environment, and without risk of financial loss should the tournament be cancelled or a participant fall ill.

In addition to the report produced by the COVID-19 Expert Group, last week the IIHF Event Department conducted championship meetings of all remaining events. While the motivation to play remains high, the tournament organizers and participating teams provided some key takeaways that supplemented the Expert Group’s report.

Because of local government rules or travel restrictions for participating teams the organisation of championships is currently impossible

Few organisers could present sufficient implementation of the COVID-19 rules and how to host the tournaments safely

A potential quarantine before and after the tournament is for many Member National Associations (MNAs) a reason to withdraw, as players must be able to fulfil work or job duties

The ongoing travel restrictions and the financial risk due to quarantine is not sustainable for most of the MNAs

In most of the U18 divisions, teams are having difficulties convincing parents for sending players to the Championship

If promotion and/or relegation is not possible due to other cancellations, MNAs do not wish for their tournament to be played


“During the last Council meeting we agreed that to require each tournament host to operate a competition ’bubble‘ was not a practical request for most organizers outside of the top divisions,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “The capability of these organizers to hold a tournament has been reduced significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the IIHF does not have the resources necessary to properly supervise the safe operation of these tournaments.”

“What we can do is to shield these tournament organizers and the participating teams from potentially devastating financial losses, by taking the unpleasant but necessary step to initiate these cancellations now before travel plans and arena preparations begin.”

“As much as we regret to have to take this decision, this is about survival and the protection of our members.”

The IIHF Council and the COVID-19 Expert Group will reconvene in January 2021 to review the status of the next two upcoming tournaments after the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship: the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship and the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Men’s U18 World Championship.

Olympic Qualifiers postponed


The latest COVID-19 cancellations have also impacted the qualification program for the 2022 Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey tournament in Beijing, China.

The Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualification tournament has already been postponed and will be scheduled to play in August 2021, while Round 2 of the Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualification will be moved to October 2021. The Final Olympic Qualification tournament, initially scheduled to take place in August, will be moved to November, pending confirmation from the International Olympic Committee.
The Men’s Olympic Final Qualification, remains on-schedule to take place from 26-29 August 2021.

On further news for Beijing 2022, the IIHF had previously determined that the 2020 IIHF World Championship Division II Group A and the 2021 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B would have served as test events for the Olympic Games. Prior to the cancellation of these tournaments, the IOC announced that an adapted sports testing program will be devised for ice hockey and other Olympic sports for 2022.

Following the IIHF Council decision, the following 2020/21 IIHF World Championship tournaments have been cancelled:

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group A
9 - 15 May 2021 SLOVENIA, Ljubljana

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group B
26 Apr - 02 May 2021 – POLAND, Katowice

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group A
10 - 16 Apr 2021 – CHINA, Beijing

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group B
18 - 24 Apr 2021 – ICELAND, Reykjavik

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division III, Group A
18 - 24 Apr 2021 – LUXEMBOURG, Kockelscheuer

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division III, Group B
19 - 22 Apr 2021 – SOUTH AFRICA, Cape Town

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division IV
8 - 14 Mar 2021 – KYRGYZSTAN, Bishkek

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group A
18-24 April 2021 – FRANCE, Angers

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group B
8-14 Apr 2021 – CHINA, Beijing

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group A
10 - 16 Apr 2021 – SPAIN, Jaca

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group B
7 - 13 Mar 2021 – CROATIA, Zagreb

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division III
15 - 21 Mar 2021 – LITHUANIA, Kaunas

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group A
5 - 11 Apr 2021 – SLOVAKIA, Spisska Nova Ves

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division I, Group B
18 - 25 Apr 2021 – ITALY, Asiago

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group A
4 - 10 Apr 2021 – ESTONIA, Tallinn

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division II, Group B
21 - 27 Mar 2021 – BULGARIA, Sofia

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division III, Group A
29 Mar - 04 Apr 2021 – TURKEY, Istanbul

2021 IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Division III, Group B
28 Mar - 03 Apr 2021 – LUXEMBOURG, Kockelscheuer

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